Decades of Sculpture in Dallas

13 Jul 2022

Sculpture has long been a central part of the cultural offering in Dallas, Texas. The city boasts a long-standing public art program that engages the community and enlivens the city's public spaces with conceptual art as well as works that comment on social justice, and Dallas Museum of Art’s stages regular must-see shows in its sculpture garden.

Private initiatives also drive the public sculpture scene. Nasher Public, an offshoot of the much-loved Nasher Sculpture Center, installs contemporary sculpture in a gallery space directly accessible from the Nasher’s entrance foyer. Interdisciplinary artist Liss LaFleur's exhibition there, The Queer Birth Project, is a collaborative arts and research-based project inspired by Judy Chicago that promotes a radically inclusive view of pregnancy, birth, and family building. The timely show comprises work made of cascading yellow fringe, rainbow-colored neon works, and a soundscape that weave together multiple narratives and perspectives on the body. Make sure to catch it, as it's on view only until July 17.

Lynda Benglis' bronze work 'Yellow Tail' (2020) at Nasher Sculpture Center. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Davin Lavikka.
Lynda Benglis' bronze work 'Yellow Tail' (2020) at Nasher Sculpture Center. Courtesy of the artist. Photo by Davin Lavikka.
Installation shot of Magali Reus: A Sentence in Soil, at Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Kevin Todora
Installation shot of Magali Reus: A Sentence in Soil, at Nasher Sculpture Center. Photo: Kevin Todora
Installation view of Joseph Havel's exhibition 'parrot architecture' at Dallas Contemporary.
Installation view of Joseph Havel's exhibition 'parrot architecture' at Dallas Contemporary.

Inside the Renzo Piano-designed Nasher Sculpture Center – established in 2003 to house the collection of modern and contemporary sculpture of Patsy and Raymond Nasher – two solo exhibitions present groundbreaking work by Lynda Benglis and Magali Reus.

Benglis, who created seminal work in the Postminimal movement, has built a five-decades-long career so far, that explores the physicality of form and its effects on the viewer. This exhibition includes recently-created monumental fountains and large bronze sculptures based on earlier ceramic works. The American artist is known for her unusual blend of organic imagery with newer media, such as decorative glitter. Until September 18.

Netherlands-born, London-based artist Magali Reus takes a different approach. Her sculptures often stem from a mundane object—a lock, a ladder, a no-parking sign—divorced from its ordinary use. Working for nearly a decade, she has achieved this proliferation of associations by working in series. The resulting abstractions lend the sculptures in A Sentence in Soil an otherworldly affect. In Reus' words, they become has“unreal things". Until September 11.

A six minute drive from the Nasher, another exhibition of contemporary sculpture takes place in dallas contemporary. The show by Texan sculptor Joseph Havel, titled parrot architecture, is made up of never-before-seen wall assemblages and totemic bronze and resin sculptures. Made with the help of his African gray pet parrot Hannah during the pandemic, his practice is also firmly tethered to the quotidian. Havel casts domestic objects such as shirts, books, bedsheets and curtains in bronze and resin, this time made from a pandemic hoard of cardboard boxes. Hannah tore the boxes apart, shredding them with her beak and talons to create a new kind of habitat, which gave the exhibition its newfangled name. On view until August 21, it's a critical commentary on the environmental impact of the global health crisis on endangered species.

– Words by Cultivist Team